Some background for my comment on a post about garden theft at GardenRant.

Here's a shot from my roof. That's my yard on the left and his on the right. Note that I am taking this picture from three stories up.


This is wisteria that threatens my house. It is quite literally destroying his house. Again, we're three stories up.

Those are his house vents it's growing on.


Here it is coming for me. I just pruned it two weeks ago, and already this. Imagine what would happen if I slacked off.

wisteria 2

This is the view from my second story living room window, and a slight rightward pan. You can't really see how his plants are bowing the fence, but trust me, they are. You see those rocks at the bottom of the fence? They're there to block tunnels dug by the mouse/rat that keeps coming over.



(That bamboo (three stories tall) is actually growing in the big water-filled planters I put mosquito dunks in.)

These are my neighbor's back stairs.

his back steps

Underneath is where I think the mice and raccoons live. The mice might actually be rats, I can't tell.

mice, maybe rats,  and racoons

And I forgot to mention this: a windy storm last year helped the wisteria rip the vine-choked trellis from his house. It's about to fall into my yard and crush a 2 year old Dicksonia. (Sorry the shot is blurry; but trust me, the trellis leans menacingly.)


This is my southern exposure, after two hours of me pruning his "shrubs" back to the property line.

southern exposure

ADDED: At least I don't have to worry about...pigs!

Also: by next spring, I won't even be able to trespass into my neighbor's yard. It will be too overgrown to admit human-sized creatures.


Amy Stewart said...

I would seriously consider calling somebody at the city. Weed abatement? I'm not sure who's in charge of this, but first of all, mosquitos are a serious health problem. I would also be concerned about fire control. Maybe the city will come out and decide it's not a problem, but this does look a little worrisome.

Christopher C. NC said...

I can see your dilemma. That is rather oppressive. To be laid back about the whole thing is one way, but it looks like that means more actual physical work and rubbish for you to keep it cut back from your property.

There are a number of ways to look at this and to approach it. The key for me would be in knowing what kind of weird the neighbor actually is and if he is a renter or owner.

Are you the guy who went on a walking tour of your SF neighborhood a while back? You should have your archives listed. I liked that tour.

Carol Michel said...

Unbelievable! I think the plants are growing toward you because they are DESPARATE to be rescued. I feel for you and am grateful I don't have that situation with any of my neighbors.

chuck b. said...

Thanks for coming by, and leaving comments--all of you. Amy, you're right. I should call someone, maybe the fire dept. I think I've been living with this for so long, it's become "normal" to me.

Christopher, yeah, I did a photo tour of the neighborhood here (and at the end of that post is a link to a previous walk).

Anonymous said...

Wow! You really weren't kidding. At first when I saw your post at Garden Rant, I thought 'it's probably just a few unpruned shrubs...and a stray wisteria vine' - but wow, that's all I can say. (And I reluctantly empathize - since I have a wisteria that I am constantly pruning back that is currently taking over the underneath of my house...the stuff is a menace.)

Oh - I voted to take a cutting of the rose. After seeing the pics, I'd take a few cuttings, just to be sure you get a few successful ones (give the ones you don't want away to friends!).

Chris Kreussling (Flatbush Gardener) said...

Ah, neighbors. I just want to make sure I'm not the problem child on the block.

At our last home, the building next-door was nearly abandoned. It was unoccupied until the last few months we lived there. The backyard was not nearly the disaster as your neighbor's, but it had one serious problem: knotweed. It had already taken over the entire rear of their yard, and was escaping into all adjacent yards, including ours.

There was truly noone to ask for permission to at least cut it down, since the building was unoccupied. I debated doing anything the first year. I regreted my inaction. A single knotweed plants creates millions of seeds. Seedlings were everywhere the next year.

I researched control methods. Concentrated Round-Up seemed to be the only thing which could slow it down. The second year there, armed with my pruning shears, a bottle of concentrated Round-Up, and a basting syringe, I went over. Every stalk I chopped down I injected with undiluted Round-Up. The bottle was empty before I was finished, but I made a good start.

The third year I couldn't enter the yard because yellow-jackets and bees had colonized their back porch. But that's another story ...

firefly said...


Just ... wow.

(If you do go for the rose cutting, best to do it John Woo style, with flying pruners of fury, so you can be sure you'll come out of there again ;-)

I am definitely planting morning glory elsewhere next year -- it grew up over the back fence and into an understory tree in the neighbor's back yard. Fortunately, it won't survive the first frost.

chuck b. said...

Firefly, LOL re: john woo.

If you're talking about that purple plant in my last shot, it's not Morning Glory, but Tibouchina urvilleana. And, I actually want to plant a chocolate morning glory in that container next year so it'll be a vine of dark purple morning glories next to the bright purple of the Tibouchina.

Christopher C. NC said...

I think the pigs are preferable to the next door daily oppression you must endure. You don't have to reason with a pig, just out smart it.

Besides Boarticulture is very episodic. A fence repair and remembering to close the gate at night keeps them out. The roadside bed outside the fence has been hit several times, but they pigs don't seem to like Junipers scratching their piggy snouts and have been avoiding that bed as the Junipers grow.

You may need a pair of clippers next spring to get in for skeeter control and they may accidentally get entangled with a rose. It would only be neighborly to cleanup after yourself and not leave any clippings behind.

chuck b. said...

Oh, I wouldn't leave any clippings behind. I'm an avid composter. All the wisteria, all of everything from his yard that gets clipped on my side of the fence gets chopped up in to little bits and composted. If he ever actually did cut down his plantings, I'd be pressed to come up with "greens" for my compost.